Monthly Archives: December 2013

See the Good, Be the Good

I don’t know about you, but watching the news depresses me. In fact, as soon as the weather report is done, I have to turn it off. Most of what they report has to do with someone’s selfishness, greed, or evil. I’m often left thinking, “What is our world coming too?” It bugs me that news always ends with a 2 minute “feel good” story. I wish they would start and finish the news with the feel good stories….in fact, I wish they would show nothing but those kinds of stories. After all, it’s those stories that restore our faith in humanity!

I often wonder what might happen to our world if we were constantly shown the GOOD that’s being done in our society rather than the bad. I personally believe it would motivate more hearts to pursue acts of kindness. Instead of believing our world is mostly bad, perhaps we would believe the contrary and in doing so, it would spur a chain reaction of love.

My husband and I have seen a continuous out pour of love since our son was diagnosed with PBD. I wish I could continuously broadcast it across the news stations. Not because I want more people to do for us, but because I truly believe if more people saw these random acts of kindness on their TVs then they would be motivated to DO something for someone else!

I think people need to SEE the good that’s happening around them and it’s hard too see that when we live in a world that constantly flashes the bad across our television screens.

Unfortunately I have no control of the news. But if I did, it would include the weather of course and then stories like these…

“A local DFW resident, Kim Bailey, heard about a friend whose son, Gideon, has a terminal genetic disorder. Moved with compassion for a friend she hasn’t seen in quite sometime, Kim contacted a charity she heard about called Tiny Superheroes. Their mission? To empower Extraordinary kids who exemplify strength and determination by overcoming illness and disability. Kim sponsored a cape for Baby Gideon and he received it just in time for Christmas!”


If you’d like to know more about this charity or how you can sponsor a cape for a child, visit their website at

Here’s another story I’d show on the news…

“A few months ago we aired a story about a local teacher, Christy Elms, who organized a fundraiser and united a community to raise money for a fellow teacher’s son. Students brought money in order to see a few teachers kiss a pig. Proceeds went to help their PE teacher’s son, Gideon, who was born with a rare genetic disorder. A few days before Christmas, she surprised the family again when she had a 4 foot “Fezzy” Bear shipped to their home for Gideon and his sister to enjoy! 20% of Fezzy’s cost goes to the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children to help transform the lives of children fighting illness and disability. Gideon and Laynie are  in love with their “Fezzy” bear!!”


To give the gift of Fezzy and help out Shriner’s Children’s Hospital,  Click Here.

Here’s another story…

“Donna Wagner and Alecia Self work hard every day to provide their visually impaired students and families with the resources they need. But a few days before Christmas, they kicked it into over drive and made sure that one of their students, Gideon, received the best Christmas gift ever! He received his official Little Room the Friday before Christmas and it was decked out with all things special and significant to his needs. Gideon has a rare genetic disorder that impairs his vision and hearing.  On top of this, these two special ladies were able to take Gideon’s home made little room and provide it to another family whose child needed it. Gideon loves those ladies and his new Little Room!”



And here’s another….

“A local boy scout troop from Garland, Troop 100, showed some special love this Christmas to a family whose son has a rare genetic disorder. Scouts raised enough money to make sure the Jolicoeur family were able to provide gifts for their kids. On top of that, the Boy Scouts also got two gifts for Laynie and Gideon and a gift card for mom and dad as well. Needless to say, their love and compassion made a huge difference for the Jolicoeur’s this Christmas!”


Had enough of my “news stories?” Of course you haven’t!!…Not with heart warming stories like these!!

Okay, so I realize that all may have sounded a bit cheesy, and to be honest, I could write a lot more about all the good we’ve experienced this Christmas season. But the point that I really want to make is that people every where did amazing things for one another this Christmas. (I’m sure we all saw stories like the West Jet Christmas surprise!) Why can’t the news show those kinds of stories all year long? Why can’t we stop and celebrate all the good that’s going on in the world rather than despair over all the bad?

I honestly believe if we SEE more good being done, it will spur us on to “BE the good” to those around us. People are not only in need during Christmas. Chances are you know someone who is struggling financially, emotionally, spiritually….and chances are you can BE the good that comes their way this year.

My friend Kim said her husband was so touched by my tearful phone call thanking them for Gideon’s cape, that they have decided to sponsor a child through Tiny Superheroes once a month. That means 12 kids in 2014 will be empowered to face their disability or illness with a handmade, personalized cape. What a difference Kim and her husband are going to make. I only wish the news would be there to show every kid each month receive his or her cape. If they were, how many more people would be moved to action by seeing that on their television screen? How many more people would BE the good because they SEE the good?

Thanks to all who have blessed our family this year. I wish I had time to write about every instance, every card, every gift or time given to us. Please know that you’ve inspired Kevin and I to be the good for someone else. We want to love others, the way others have loved us.

God bless!!

Christmas Shopping

Last night I did something I never do this late in the season…I went Christmas shopping. I take pride in the fact that I’m done shopping weeks before Christmas day arrives. I’m not knocking those who shop that close to Christmas. I just know myself and I’m not a cheerful shopper when among the masses. And I really hate standing in lines, so I try to stay away from the stores when Christmas is this close.

However, due to circumstances that could not be avoided, I was one gift short for my nephew. So I braved Target, found the gift and left the store with a cart full of groceries and other necessities… only to arrive home and realize that the gift I picked out for my nephew was not in my possession. And here’s the funny (but not funny at the time) part. When I looked at my receipt, it became clear that I did not even purchase the gift!!

To say I was frustrated is an understatement. You can imagine the steam rising off me at this point as my husband laughs and asks, “Are you sure you picked out a gift?”

He almost got slapped…

Finally I realized what happened. The lady in front of me had the conveyer belt 95% full. So I loaded what I could onto the remaining 5% and put my nephew’s gift on the sliver part….the part that doesn’t move. Now here’s what gets me. There were PLENTY of people behind me. I would like to think that one of them would have said, “Hey, is this yours?” After all, everyone’s eyes are on that belt as they all anxiously wait to unload their items! And keep in mind, this one toy is the ONLY reason I went to Target in the first place!!

So with a pout and stomp, I make a trip back to my not-so-favorite-place-right-now, and my gift has either been purchased by someone else who waited in that line (you’re welcome if that was you) or it’s already been shuffled back to the toy section by an employee. Either scenario, I made my way to the back of the store, found my chosen item, and waited in another line.

While I lingered in line, it dawned on me that I had only purchased two stocking stuffers for Gideon and many more for Laynie. As I stood in line thinking about what I could get for my legally blind & partially deaf son, I remembered Gideon’s therapist telling me she got a lot of their vision therapy toys at the dollar store. So since I was out and about anyways, I made a trip to the place where everything is a dollar.

Since Gideon has light perception, I found a light up disco ball and a red police light (the kind that was manually placed on police cars back in the old days). I also found some light up toys that were soft…which is important, since my son hits himself with every object he holds. There were lots of great things for the visually impaired, but I couldn’t find anything that worked for his auditory impairment. And then I remembered a conversation my sister and dad jokingly had about dog toys. Those toys are usually loud AND soft! So with no luck in the toy section, I reluctantly made my way to the pet aisle.

Now let’s be clear about one thing. Spending $1 on a Christmas toy doesn’t bother me. As long as the child who receives it enjoys it… price doesn’t matter. What bothered me as I stood for what seemed like hours in front of these pet toys is that they were made & intended for animals. And my son is obviously not an animal.

With an unenthusiastic heart, I purchased several dog toys, thanked the cashier, and cried the whole way home. Looking back, I’m not even sure what I was so upset about. Maybe it was the fact that my son deserves better than dog toys. Maybe it was the knowledge that buying gifts for him to enjoy will always remind me that he’s different than other kids. Or maybe it was the reality that Gideon’s diagnosis is real. No matter the reason for tears, the unfortunate truth is that Gideon’s experience of Christmas will always be different from other children’s experience.

I guess I’m learning that Christmas, like every other holiday season, will always require thinking outside the box. And you know what? That’s ok. In fact, that loud-squeaky-lamb-looking dog toy will probably be his most favorite item to play with for two reasons. 1- It won’t hurt him when he bangs himself with it; and 2- He’ll hear it…and so will the rest of our neighborhood.

“So what’s the big lesson here?” I asked God as I laid myself down to sleep last night. While I didn’t get an audible answer, I believe He brought this question to my mind…

“Do you think baby Jesus enjoyed the gold, frankincense and myrrh on His first Christmas?”

As a former teacher, I’m guilty of answering questions with more questions. Doing so provokes further thought and self discovery. I believe God did just that for me.

As I thought about baby Jesus on that first Christmas, I imagine he just enjoyed what every baby enjoys… being loved, held, fed, and changed. He didn’t care about the gold, frankincense and myrrh; he just loved being with his mom and dad. It’s not really that profound when you think about it. We all know this but Christmas is about being with the ones you love and celebrating the One who forever changed the course of our eternity.

So as tomorrow approaches remember this- the toys and gifts we stressed about shopping for will probably be dusty & forgotten, exchanged or tossed in the trash. But more than 2000 years ago, God gave us a gift that will never be forgotten, nor will we ever need to exchange or toss it. If we can keep in mind we’re celebrating HIM and not us, then the fact that I bought my 11 month old son a dog toy doesn’t matter. It’s the love we share that counts.

So with that thought in mind, I hope you’ll join me & put all the Christmas shopping stress behind you. I hope your Christmas day is full of love, laughter, and Jesus. What better gift can we share than Him?

“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” -John 3:16

Merry Christmas!

Shred it! Letting go of the past.

I really dislike clutter. Seeing piles of paper & mail stacked high makes me cringe- the need to organize then flourishes within my soul.

A few months back, Kevin and I bought a heavy duty shredder and with good reason. My husband is a hoarder of what he likes to call “important documents.” I like to joke that he’s from the Stone Age and therefore forgets we can always find an electronic copy if we need it.

So with Laynie at her Mimi’s and nothing on DVR, we took full advantage of our Friday night minus one kid… we attacked our work desk and put our heavy duty shredder to the test. (Oh what fun it is to be an adult!)

Have you ever gone through old documents with your spouse? It’s pretty funny… well at least it was for me. Kevin has bank statements and bills that reach as far back as WWII. We actually had a great time and laughed hysterically; but the best part of last night was not the shredding of bank statements and bills. The best part was when we came across a file titled “Laynie.”

Looking through all that was in the “Laynie” file required a trip down memory lane. The file contained letters & statements from our attorneys, custody agreements/final orders from the attorney general and any other piece of paper from what I like to call our “Jerry Springer” phase of life. (Click here to watch our testimony about it).

As we examined each document, I actually relived some of our past. I saw for the first time the original letter that Kevin wrote me a few weeks before Laynie was born regarding what he wanted to do about visitation and custody arrangements. I remember receiving a copy of that letter in the mail and thinking to myself, “I will hate this man for the rest of my life!”

It’s funny how looking back into our past we quickly focus on the hurts rather than the joys. My mind immediately revisited the pain instead of the peace that came from it. Don’t misunderstand, going through those files, I was not stuck in the pain longer than a few seconds… but it was still my first thought. Thankfully because of the forgiveness that Kevin and I chose to extend to one another, my mind quickly trumped the painful memory for the thought of “look at what all God has done despite our painful past!!”

Kevin and I laughed as we went through the Laynie file. We laughed at how much money we wasted on attorneys and child support, but most of all we laughed at ourselves. We determined that because we acted in fear we paid a lot more (both monetarily and emotionally) than we would have if we had acted in faith and trusted our Lord.

So what did we do with the Laynie file???….the file that contained our shameful, painful and pricey past?


It was a great feeling and rightfully so! Kevin and I have forgiven each other for the mistakes made in the past. And because we chose to forgive (Mark 11:25), that means never bringing it up again. I can’t think of a better symbolism of forgiveness than putting our past where it belongs…in a shredder!! After all, isn’t that what God does for us when we ask for forgiveness? (Hebrews 8:12, Psalm 103:12)

Is there something you’re holding onto that needs to be shredded? A file of past hurts or a stack of wrongs done? Can I lovingly make a suggestion?

Shred it!

Holding onto such material is cluttering your life. For some, the piles of pain are stacked so high you can’t see the hope and peace that’s on the other side. I don’t know what you’ve been through and would not dare disrespect you by downplaying the pain you’ve experienced… But I do know this- Forgiveness is not excusing what someone else has done. Forgiveness is not enabling another person to continue to hurt you. Forgiveness is embracing what God can do in spite of what others have done.

Letting go of the past can be hard. If we do, it feels like we’re giving up control…or excusing the behavior of others…or saying we’re okay with the way we’ve been treated. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Letting go and shredding our past means we’re giving it over to the Lord. We’re letting Him be the judge and jury (Romans 12:19). We’re letting Him do what only He can…

Bring us hope & peace.


I heard this poem a couple of years after my sister was paralyzed. I don’t know the author. It’s one of those poems I memorized because it’s so simple and had such a significant impact on my life at the time… and it still does! If you’ve never heard it, I hope you enjoy it!

Let Go
As children bring their broken toys with tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God, because He is my friend.
But instead of leaving Him in peace and quiet to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help, with ways that were my own.
At last I snatched them back and cried, “How can You be so slow!?”
“My child,” He said, “What could I do? You never did let go.”